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math, nature and art

May 7, 2012

* math *

The internet is full of surprises.  A few years ago I happened to find a research paper that my late father authored in the mid 1960s.  It was a time in his life when he was very excited about his career in the early years of aerospace.

The paper was full of equations.   Like this one.

This fascinating sequence of characters expresses heat balance.  Essentially, the physics of nature.  Radiant energy from the sun and movement (friction) as the heat passes through a window and reacts with properties specific to the material of the window.

My dad and his colleagues were experimenting with new window materials, trying to find something to use in spacecraft to optimize visibility and insulation during severe temperatures encountered in hypervelocity.

image from NASA’s photo gallery Gemini: Bridge to the Moon

As a youngster, daddy showed me photographs of the nature of our planet, explaining how essential our atmosphere was for human survival.  He tried to explain natural properties of space and I tried to understand.  .


* nature*

I encountered a different sort of nature around 4:15 this morning.  I heard an unfamiliar noise.  Something like a horn tooting.  My trusty dog Jasper and I ventured outdoors and heard it close by.  Way up in the tall pine trees.  I was aware of the bright moon.  Dad’s voice in my head reminded me that the moon did not shine light, it merely reflected the sun’s light, in the places where the earth did not cast a shadow.

More hooting, calling noises.

Then a really large white bird took flight and soared right over us.  Just like that.  Gave me quite a thrill.  First time in my life to see a barn owl (any owl, truth be told) in nature.

This isn’t the exact bird.  But it looked like this.

barn owl

Jasper and I just saw the white underside whooshing past us overhead.


* art*

I like to make things out of my imagination and I particularly like the planning process.  Making schematics on graph paper. Optimizing the sizing and measurements.  Using an antique ruler as a straight edge for construction.  Making a prototype and refining the design.

Case in point – my weekend paper stitching project.  I’ve gone through 3 iterations of this design so far and consider this latest one a step in the right direction — a workable starting point for the version to come next.  The first two versions were a mess.  trust me.

and the schematic for the next iteration–

the timeless chevron zigzag is merely a sharpened version of the rhythmic wave form that occurs in all of nature:  electricity, sound, light, water.  my little artform honed with the tools always present on daddy’s desk.  graph paper and a straight edge.


thank you for dropping in today and sharing this little bit of reflection 🙂




joining the Textile Link Party at freckled laundry

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2012 10:57 pm

    Diane, girl, this was a FASCINATING, ENLIGHTENING, and thoroughly ENJOYABLE post to read today!

    LOVED hearing all about your father. How cool was that??? What an incredible job he had!

    I got chills when I read about the barn owl appearing, because it was so simpatico with discovering your fathers’ research paper and his involvement withspace. In fact, all THREE of these post vignettes seem to tie into each other.

    Your paper stitching project is turned out WAY cool. Love the zigzag!

    Thank for sharing this post, my friend. REALLY enjoyed it!

    Put a big smile on my face.

    Have a super week!

    X to you and Cristybella!

  2. May 9, 2012 9:09 pm

    Wow…….aren’t they magnificent in flight and in stillness?!

    Ohmygosh, they’re such a presence.

    And what a lovely tribute to your father and to the bits he instilled in you.

  3. July 14, 2012 1:52 am

    Featured you tonight, Diane! Thank you for sharing with my textile party! xo Jami

    • July 14, 2012 11:13 am

      hi Jami, you are so kind and I’m overjoyed! Hope you have a truly lovely weekend 🙂

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